Big Little Lies recap: season two, episode three- The Aim of the World

A group therapy session exposed some tough realisations for the Monterey Five, while Mary Louise took her cause to the next level

Spoiler alert: this blog is for people watching season two of Big Little Lies, which airs on HBO in the US, Sky Atlantic in the UK and on Foxtel’s Showcase in Australia. Don’t read on unless you have watched the most recent episode.

‘These second grade mothers: they’re Shakespearean’

It seems we’ve arrived at the” Tell me about your childhood …” segment of the group therapy session that is Big Little Lies: Season two. And since the shrink on duty is the astute Dr Reisman( an Emmy-worthy Robin Weigert ), you know it’s gonna be a good’un.

Bonnie ran first, flashing back to a troubling memory of her mom abruptly dunking her head in a pool because” we have to be able to hold our breath underwater, baby “. Err … do we? As a metaphor for Bonnie’s drowning mental state, it wasn’t especially subtle, but it did offer some intriguing insight into their as-yet underwritten relationship. It’s going to take more than a few hours of spiritual yoga practice to bring this mother and daughter inner peace.

Next up Madeline, who recalled that time, aged three or four, when she strolled in on her parent” having sexuality with a woman that wasn’t my mom “. Ooof. Even Celeste was wincing in sympathy. Plenty for Dr Reisman to get stuck into, then.

Mary Blunt … Mary Louise( Meryl Streep ). Photograph: HBO

Oh, did you assume Streep’s mother-in-law from hell would be serving up this season’s hottest tea? While Mary Louise continued to speak her mind, it was ” Madame Shrink”, as Madeline likes to call her, who forced the most discomforting realisations. Could Madeline’s own academic insecurities be at the root of her frustration with her college-dropout daughter? Makes sense. Plus that comparing of domestic violence survivors to soldiers struggling to adjust to peacetime voiced spot on, even if Celeste remains sceptical.

Mary Louise’s attention was, mercifully, focused elsewhere, with her attempting to rouse some police those who are interested in her son’s death. That means Perpetually Unimpressed Detective from season one is back and she’s still got no time for these bearing rich person with their boring-rich-people problems. The mouth said,” I have personally worked very hard to be mindful of your unspeakable ache ,” but the eyes said,” How long till lunch ?”.

So it was onto the next stop; an unannounced visit at Jane’s workplace where Mary Louise bluntly requested that little Ziggy be subjected to a paternity test before running down the greatest reaches of victim blaming:” Were you drinking ?” Check.” You must have tempted him .” Check.” Mixed signals ?” Check and check.

Dr Dr Reisman( Robin Weigert ), AKA Mistress Shrink. Photograph: HBO

Miraculously Jane kept her cool, but then herein lies the grandeur of both the Big Little Lies script and Streep’s performance: Even in the midst of their antagonism, some fleeting and achingly beautiful moments of mutual understanding pass between these women; moments in which it’s clear they’re are all only mothers acting out of love for their sons.

Or perhaps Jane was riding too high on her new romance with Corey from the aquarium to be brought down by pettiness. Monterey does have an array of perfect date places with giant wine glass and cosy flame pits; it’s about time they were put to use.

On the plus side, this may mean an aim to all Jane’s manic-pixie-dream-dancing in the surf with her vintage iPod.( I can only assume this was some kind of Monterey mating ritual ?) On the downside, heartbreak looms. Clearly Jane’s new beau is either a) a serial killer b) an undercover policeman whose work ethic sets Perpetually Unimpressed Detective to dishonor or c) Dead Perry’s long-lost half-brother.

Not that any of these scenarios would be darker that what’s currently going down between Celeste and the ghost of her abusive “husbands “, right before our eyes. Big Little Lies has long danced instead gracefully around the murky issue of abuse mired with sexual desire, but are they actually going there now? Really going there? Yes, yes they are.

Notes and observations

‘I ‘ I will be rich again !’ … Renata( Laura Dern) with spouse Gordon( Jeffrey Nordling ). Photograph: HBO

If Jane had dodged Corey’s kiss-lunge any more energetically, she’d have fallen into the path of an oncoming bus- which would have been a bold way to tie down her storyline.

Was that moment when Bo Peep removed her prosthetic teeth a foreshadowing of Streep’s season finale showstopper? Let’s hope so!

” You would have been able to jumped into that pool and pulled me out .” Celeste’s sweet words to Madeline are also a neat call-back to that other pool incident.

We’ve got Amabella’s” no-cost spared” birthday party to look forward to. Can’t wait.

Renata coined a new swear this week, by blend a cute term for a cat with another of her four-letter favourites. Sadly it’s too rude to reproduction here.

We got a slightly better view of the exterior of Jane and Ziggy’s supposedly humble beachfront condo this week. It definitely expenses at least$ 2m.

” Counselling is certainly indicated … Perhaps for the entire family” Oooh, Renata gets a sick burn from the ER doctor- but he has a point. Maybe Dr Reisman could fit them in?

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